Inheriting a house can be an emotionally complex event, compounded by the often arduous task of deciding what to do with the property. In many cases, the beneficiaries opt to sell, but before putting it on the market—especially in a competitive area like the San Francisco Bay Area—it’s crucial to make the home as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. Here are three key things you can do to prepare your inherited house for sale:
1. Professional Home Inspection and Necessary Repairs
The Importance of a Thorough Inspection
Inherited homes, especially older ones, often come with a set of challenges that can be deal-breakers for potential buyers. A professional home inspection can reveal any hidden issues, providing a roadmap for necessary repairs.
What to Do:
- Hire a Certified Inspector: Look for an inspector who is certified by a reputable organization like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
- Prioritize Repairs: After receiving the inspection report, prioritize the issues. Safety concerns like electrical, plumbing, or structural problems should be addressed first.
- Get Multiple Estimates: In the pricey Bay Area, repairs can be costly. Always get multiple quotes from contractors to ensure you’re getting the best value.
Local Regulations and Permits
Given that Bay Area housing is highly regulated, it’s important to check whether any permits are needed for the repairs you plan to make.
2. Staging and Curb Appeal
Why Staging Matters
Staging can be particularly effective in markets like the Bay Area where small differences can significantly impact the sales price. A well-staged home can photograph better, look more appealing during showings, and ultimately attract higher offers.
What to Do:
- Declutter and Depersonalize: Remove personal belongings and unnecessary furniture to create a neutral space.
- Hire a Professional: Given the Bay Area’s market dynamics, it might be worth hiring a staging company that specializes in preparing homes for quick, lucrative sales.
- Digital Staging: In today’s tech-savvy market, consider digital staging options for online listings.
Enhance Curb Appeal
The exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see. In the Bay Area, where outdoor living is a selling point, a well-maintained exterior can add significant value.
What to Do:
- Landscaping: Hire a professional landscaper to trim bushes, mow the lawn, and add colorful plants.
- Paint and Repair: A fresh coat of paint on the exterior, fence, or front door can work wonders.
3. Price It Right with Local Market Research
The Balancing Act of Pricing
Pricing a home correctly in the Bay Area can be a tightrope act. An overpriced home risks sitting on the market, while an underpriced home might sell quickly but under its potential value.
What to Do:
- Consult a Local Expert: Hire a real estate agent with a strong track record in the Bay Area market.
- Review Comps: “Comps” or comparable sales are your best indicator of what the market will bear.
- Be Prepared to Adjust: The Bay Area market can fluctuate due to a variety of factors like tech booms or economic downturns. Be ready to adjust your pricing strategy accordingly.
Consider Market Timing
The Bay Area has a year-round real estate market, but certain seasons can be more advantageous for sellers. Consult your real estate agent about the best time to list your property.
Preparing an inherited house for sale in the Bay Area requires thoughtful planning and action. By taking the necessary steps to get your home in prime condition, you can facilitate a quicker sale and potentially increase the property’s sale value. With the right approach, even an older, inherited home can shine in the competitive Bay Area market.